Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

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Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, November 18, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, November 18, 1724, to summarize the state of the law suit that he has brought in the colony to establish the proprietor's rights to certain fees and fines. The trial was postponed, and Governor Drysdale intends to seek the opinion of the Board of Trade. Carter requests that a copy of the letter be sent to William Cage (the trustee of the Fairfax estate) and Lord Fairfax.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, November 18, 1724

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Novr 18. 1724


     It is necessary to acquaint you wth the Steps have been taken
in the proprietors law Suit It lies over to another Court a [nd]
indeed I did not press for a trial and the Court was so
full of other business, we had no day left for the trial
had I been never so urgent The Governour intends to have
the opinion of the board of Trade for his justification
upon the State of the Case and their method will be I expect
to refer it to the attorney and Solicitor general this was done
once before in the time of my Lord Sommer's being Attorney
General upon the validity of the grant whose report I have

     I must observe to you the Case however it came
as it was Stated to the attorney and Solicitor general w [as] much
Stronger against the proprietors than the Truth in fact really
is It lays down that all those things in the grant had all --
along been in the possession of the Crowne which is much otherwise
Deodands Fellons Goods Escheats Waifs Strays &c are in my
possession in right of the proprietors, The Fines laid in our
County Courts upon Offenders wch according to the Lawers
I have are Franchises in the Crowne and grantable Is the
only point in Controversy between us These indeed have be [en]
taken by the Crown My Lord Fairfax tells me he has a --
good interest in some of the board of Trade I suppose his
Lordship and Colonel Cage will think themselves concered in
taking Care of this affair, that their Interest may not
suffer for want of a diligent application Advowsons are
also granted to the properitors but I have never meddled
in that Matter This dispute was brought on by Colonel Spotswood's
direction in Council in the time of his being governour --
upon my demand of the properitors right --

     I request you will forthwth let his Lordship & Colonel Cage
have a copy of this Letter I am

Sir your most humble Servant

Copia Vera


Source copy consulted: Fairfax Papers, BR 227, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 116-17.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Rappahannock" for the river on which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence, especially to merchants abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

The text is a copy of the letter received by Micajah Perry in London. Perry had his clerk copy the letter as Carter had requested, and he transmitted it Cage with a brief covering letter 1725 January 12 :

                                                            London January. 12th 1724
I received a letter of a Sunday from Colonel Carter a Copy of which according
to his desire I transmit to you if Lord Fairfax does any thing at the board of
Trade I should be glad to know it, that I may acquaint the Colonel With it
I am with respect
Your most humble servant

Micajah Perry

I sent you a Letter from Colonel Carter about
a week ago I hope you had it

This covering letter is the recipient's copy signed by Perry and sealed. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 117.

[1] Established in 1696 as successor to a similar body, the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations was "an advisory group, subordinate to king and Privy Council, and with no executive, financial, or penalizing powers, the Board of Trade was nevertheless able . . . to exert a far reaching and often determining influence in colonial matters. . . . It prepared the royal instructions for the governors overseas. . . ." ( Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton. Hunter Dickinson Farish, ed. The Present State of Virginia, and the College. [First published, 1940, by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., and reprinted Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1964.] pp. xvi-xvii. )

[2] Formerly in English law, a deodand was "a thing that had caused a person's death and was forfeited to the crown for a charitable purpose: abolished 1862." ( Collins English Dictionary -- Complete and Unabridged. HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003. Online at The Free Dictionary. 9/16/2011 )

[3] An advowdson is "the right in English ecclesiastical law of presentation to a vacant benefice." ( The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., 2000, 2009. online at the Free Dictionary, 9/16/2011

[4] Alexander Spotswood (1646-1740) had been the governor from 1710 to 1722.

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised September 16, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.